UPDATED, 1: 35 PM: In what was the most lopsided Sunday Night Football score ever for the NBC and NFL show, the New England Patriots’ 33-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last night has delivered its final numbers. And they are a lot like the 2018 SNF season opener and last week’s 100th-season opener between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.
Sunday’s primetime matchup between the current Super Bowl champs and the Steelers snared 22.2 million viewers on the Comcast-owned net. That’s just a touch over the 22.12 million pulled in by last year’s SNF debut, a Packers-Bears game. Last night’s blowout is also up just 0.9% compared with NBC’s regular-season kickoff game Thursday.
The full set of eyeballs goes up to 22.7 million for the Pats victory when you add in viewership for NBC Sports Digital and NFL Digital platforms, Nielsen and Adobe Analytics say.
Let’s see what the action is tonight on the start of Monday Night Football on ESPN.
PREVIOUSLY, 6:23 AM: A day after signing ex-Pittsburgh Steelers superstar Antonio Brown, the New England Patriots proceeded to bury the AFC’s oldest franchise in the official NFL season opener of NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
Roaring to a 33-3 win at home, Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions may have even let the Steelers have their lone field goal almost as a courtesy in what was the most lopsided SNF opener ever. Certainly, the numbers underneath the final score tell the deeper story with the Patriots’ QB nailing a trio of touchdowns, completing 24 of his 36 throws and racking up 341 yards passing.
Or put it another way, and without Brown playing last night, New England on and off the field this weekend made its case for back-to-back Super Bowls clear – just like the team did in 2003 and 2004. Hell, there was even a very untraditional shout-out to Marvel and Black Panther’s Wakanda from the Pats’ Michael Bennett on NBC on Sunday:
— ESPN (@espn) September 9, 2019
However, Patriots Fatigue might finally be settling in with America’s football fans – at least when it comes to the ratings. Coming off a 100th season opener on September 5 that was up double digits from 2018, last night’s SNF clinched a 14.8/26 in metered markets, according to Nielsen.
Basically unmoved from the opener from 2018, last night’s blowout was up a tiny 2.7% in the early metrics from the hobbled SNF season debut of September 9 last year.
That dramatic 24-23 comeback win for the Green Bay Packers over longtime rivals the Chicago Bears ended up with a total viewership of 22.12 million and a 7.5/29 rating among adults 18-49 on the Comcast-owned network. That marked drops of 9% and 18%, respectively, compared with the 2017 season SNF kickoff, when the big-market Dallas Cowboys beat the big-market New York Giants 19-3.
Additionally and perhaps telling of more than a rout impacting viewer’s interest, Sunday’s game also had the distinction of being down from Thursday’s official season kickoff. Ultimately snagging 22.0 million for NBC, that well-hyped 199th battle that saw the Packers beat the host Bears was up almost 4% in the metered markets over last night’s SNF‘s Patriots-Steelers clash.
We’ll update with more NFL and NBC numbers as we get them, as well as final ratings for Big Brother and The $100,00 Pyramid (see the chart below). Of course, tonight is also the debut of the 50th anniversary season of Monday Night Football. The commemoration will see the Houston Texans taking on the New Orleans Saints on ESPN in the opener and Denver at Oakland in the nightcap.
With that, here are the Top 10 local metered market for last night’s game:
1. Pittsburgh 42.3/60
2. Providence 37.4/57
3. Boston 36.3/58
4. New Orleans 22.7/31
5. Denver 19.6/33
6. Baltimore 19.1/30
7. Norfolk 18.8/31
8. Kansas City 18.3/30
9. Dayton 18.2/29
10. Buffalo 18.0/29